I’m so excited to be teaching LIB200 again in the fall, and to bring in some of the insights from the NEH Technology, Self, Society seminar. I am going to stick with my LIB200 post-apocalyptic fiction and film theme, but I’m excited to bring in some new readings I found during the course of the seminar. The first is an essay by Daniel Mendelsohn in The New York Review of Book, about the film Ex Machina. What I like about this essay is the way it historicizes even further (back to the ancient Greeks) some of the anxieties about technology that we’ve been grappling with in this seminar. For example, the “Ode to Man” ode from Sophocles’ Antigone introduces the human as a technologist who is dangerous because of his abilities to manipulate nature through technology (agriculture, ship-building, medicine).
I was also interested in the Italo Calvino story from Invisible Cities that Sorin mentioned in his article — it seems like a really interesting way to introduce the theme of networks as a way of thinking further about the particularities of the internet versus other “cultural techniques.”
The seminar helped me understand that my interests vis-a-vis technology are oriented toward German media studies rather than American sociological/psychological studies like the Turkle. To that end, I’m going to be assigning myself to read the work of Berhhard Siegert, who coined the term “cultural techniques.” I’m hoping that this will inform my research and teaching in future projects.